Yo ho ho! Merry Capitalism!
What is Christmas really about? Is it gathering around the fireplace with your friends and family? Is it about the spirit of the love charity? Is it about celebrating the birth of a guy who did some really cool magic tricks with loaves and fishes before he ended up unemployed and living with his dad for the last 2000 years? Obviously, it’s about none of those things! Christmas is about putting a glossy sheen of candy-cane-like sweetness over our base, feral desire to consume! Now your friends at Hey Poor Player are here to help you do it! Whether you’ve got the budget of Ebineezer Scrooge or Bob Cratchett, we’ll be providing you with a veritable feast of geeky, gamer and general gift ideas! Your loved ones’ eyes will light up like a bauble-festooned tree when they unwrap presents like these on Christmas morn! Now, check out our definitive buying guide for the holidays below!
Man Vs. Snake
Man Vs Snake is the spiritual sequel to the ultimate competitive gaming documentary, King of Kong. King of Kong was a classic Good vs. Evil fable of humble, hardworking family man Steve Weibe trying to best slick hot sauce entrepeneur Billy Mitchell at the arcade classic: Donkey Kong. Man Vs Snake is more a tale of one man’s struggle against the ravages of time, the realities of adulthood, himself and most of all, a digitized snake designed to test his sanity and endurance to the breaking point. Timothy McVey (no, not THAT one) is an electrical engineer who works at a department store – whose life would be unremarkable other than one great achievement: back in 1984 he broke world records by getting over a billion points on Nibbler.
The film details the life of a much older McVey and his frustration in discovering his high score was actually long-ago beaten by a Sauve italian named Enrico Zanetti. McVey sets out on a quest to beat Zanetti’s score and reclaim his life-defining record. Of course, McVey is over 20 years older, and beating his original score required him to stay awake for over two days, hunched over the arcade cabinet. He’s also dogged at every step by his rival Dwayne Richard: the unpredictable, dreadlocked wildman of classic competitive gaming, who looks to be on a different type of psychedelic drug at his every appearance. Does McVey still have the physical stamina and mental fortitude to beat himself as a much younger man – and what kind of toll will his obsessive attempts take on his long-suffering wife?
Man Vs. Snake is just as much a fascinating tale of pathos, the golden age of gaming and human perseverance as King of Kong. If you’re at all a fan of docu-dramas and videogaming history, you owe it to yourself to watch Man Vs. Snake. You can grab a hold of Man Vs. Snake for $9.99 on the movie’s official website, and the iTunes version includes bonus features! Check it out!
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
Enjoy chapters one through three of the Nathan Drake series all for the price of a third of one single AAA title. While you may not get the multiplayer with this edition, you’ll get all of the campaign fun while competing with your friends for best level stats such as headshots, kills with weapons, and more! It’s currently on Amazon for the very respectable price of $17.99 ($19.99 Digital Download). Get in on the anicent-temple-destroying, mass-murdering fun today!
For Gamers Who Also Like To Read:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Audio Book narrated by Wil Wheaton)
Prepare for the apocalypse nerd style with this futuristic rendition of an America gone wrong. The world now lives, more or less, in a World of War style video game in which everything from school classes to business transactions now take place. Soon to be a major motion picture, check out the original story before it hits theaters!
Arkwright by Allen Steele
If you love space and still have hope of once acheiving a Star Trek style future, Arkwright is for you. This book is a loveletter to the sci-fi genre of giant writers such as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Philip K. Dick, but continues even further. Before Nathan Arkwright (seminal author of the 20th century) breathes his last, he invests his millions into a research program that promises the survival of the human race by ensuring that we will one day make it to the stars. Follow his family over multiple generations as they work to achieve this shared dream.
Redshirts by John Scalzi – (Audio Book narrated by Wil Wheaton)
This title may be self explanatory, but this book follows the story of Ensign Andrew Dahl, who is starting to notice some really strange things that happen whenever the UUCS Intrepid encounters goes on a new mission. Encounters with alien life forms almost always result in a fatality, the senior officers are never injured during those encounters, and at least one low ranking crew member ends up dead at the end. While it doesn’t take place in the Star Trek universe, this series does lean heavily toward that fanbase. Be prepared for hilarity, awkwardness, and an ending that you won’t see coming…much like many “red shirts”. Wil Wheaton’s silky smooth narration will make you say anything but “Shut up, Wesley!”
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
Wait, don’t skip over this! I promise, it’s nothing like the movie was. In fact, this book is so much BETTER than the movie that if you don’t like it I invite you to personally yell at me on the forums over it. Written by Max Brooks, the son of comedy legend Mel Brooks, this novel is literally everything that encompases unbiased journalistic integrity – if only in fiction format. In short, it’s the zombie genre done right. No matter how contrived you find the zombie trope has become, this will re-awaken your love of zombies, even if it is only ever through this book. Learn from beginning to end what happened during the “Zed War” including the origin of patient zero from a Cantonese doctor in the rural provinces of China. Hear about the meltdown of the Russian Special Forces after being forced to shoot an infected child from the only surviving officer that was present. Hear first hand from a retired army general about the legendary Battle of Yonkers, and of course the point in which the war turned. All told from first person perspectives, all stories you’ve never heard before (or likewise will again). For anyone who still holds out hope for good zombie stories, this is the masterpiece you’ve been waiting for.
Note: If you can help it, do not purchase the audio book on this one, and I say that only because it is abridged. The unabridged edition seems to have been lost to time and space, but you will miss amazing stories if you go this route!
The Art of Titanfall 2 by Andy McVittie
While it may have struggled at retail, Titanfall 2 is without a doubt one hell of a game. That said, it’s only fitting that Titan Books’ hardcover ode to the striking world and characters of Titanfall 2 is one of the most impressive video game art books to release this year. Featuring a treasure trove of art and information from the game, The Art of Titanfall 2 immerses the reader in the lore and vivid art of Respawn’s AAA shooter over the span of its 192 glossy pages, which showcase all of the impressive tech, concept art, and alien landscapes showcased in the criminally overlooked mech-based shooter. It comes in at an eye-opening $39.95, but these lush designs are well worth the price tag. If you’ve got a fan of Titanfall 2 on your shopping list, this is one art book that deserves a spot on their bookshelf.
Hey Poor Player’s Anime Gift Suggestions:
Now, I am sure that most of you have heard Crunchyroll advertisements at least once or twice, but that is usually for a good reason. The fact of the matter is, Crunchyroll Premium is the best way to watch all of the latest anime with quality subtitles and with only a short wait after they air just a few hours after they do in Japan! While Crunchyroll is available for free, it offers much more for those who pay the paltry $6.95 a month (You can also try a 14 day trial for free as well), including no ads on videos, the availability to watch in 1080p, and access to a decent amount of manga titles, which are also released right when they do in Japan.
Crunchyroll has also recently partnered up with Funimation, so having a subscription will also give you access to their most acclaimed shows as well, like Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, Cowboy Bebop, and Psycho Pass. This in addition to such great shows like ReLIFE, Kill la Kill, and the ever-growing amount of shows that will start to air this winter, Crunchyroll Premium is a great gift for those who like the shows from across the sea. Coincidently, Crunchyroll is also the site where I watch almost every show that I review here at Hey Poor Player, so you know it’s the best.
Listen, nerds like collecting all sorts of pop culture. It’s in our blood, our very souls. It is no different for those in the anime community. LootAnime is the gift for those collectors in your life that you may not know exactly what genre of shows that they like, but want them to have a bit of everything. Each month offers a theme with a whole lot of different anime-related products, including shirts, various manga volumes, and figures. You can sign up for only a month, or up to a year so you can surprise your special someone months in advance. Do you know someone who would love nothing more than have a myserious box delivered to them containing wide-eyed anime waifus? Give it a go!
Hardcore Retro Gamer? Try:
Are you a fan of retro gaming but have no way to hook up your dusty old consoles to your fancy new high-def TV? Have no fear, Hyperkin is here! The RetroN 5 allows you to play games for a number of consoles including the Nintendo, Famicom, Super Nintendo, Super Famicom, Genesis, Mega Drive, Game Boy, and Game Boy Advance all on one shiny box. Not only does it support all of those carts and controllers you’ve got collecting dust in your closet, it also allows you to language patch fan translations via SD card, allowing you to finally play some of those RPGs you’ve been meaning to catch up on but haven’t quite found the time to learn Japanese.
There’s no secret that retro games look pretty horrid on today’s TV sets. Thankfully, the RetroN 5 also brings with it a wealth of visual filters in addition to crystal clear 720p upscaling, to keep your classic games looking fresh without any of the harsh pixelization you’ve probably come to expect. Simply put, if you’re a retro gamer or shopping for someone who’s a fan of gaming’s golden years this holiday season, the RetroN 5 is a welcome addition to any nostalgic gamer’s wishlist. It’s more than worth the $139.99 if you must have your classic retro games looking their absoloute best.
And a couple more games. Go on then:
Gurumin 3D: A Monstrous Adventure
Falcom’s and Mastiff’s Gurumin 3D: A Monstrous Adventure puts a fresh spin on the classic action-RPG, bringing young hero Parin’s story to life like never before. Essentially a fusion of 3D Super Mario titles and The Legend of Zelda, the areas you’ll explore in your quest are built with an equal focus of tight platforming and exploration in mind.
All in all, Gurumin 3D: A Monstrous Adventure is a delightful handheld romp that’s sure to entertain 3DS owners with a penchant for both platforming and action-RPGs. You can read our full review of the game here.
Hard West – Game (PC)
Is Christmas too cloyingly jolly for you? If you want to darken the gaiety of Christmas with a thoroughly depressing fantasy-western then Hard West is just the tobbacey-chewin’, rootin’ tootin’, turn-based shootin’ game you need! Hard West casts you as the leader of a gang of up to four desperadoes in some X-Com style action (though X-Com would never let you do something as awesome as ricohet a shot from your peacemaker into a cowboy hat wearing demon). To give you a flavour of the proceedings: one of the campaign scenarios involves the main character having his mother sacrificed by a cult and his father abandoning him after being cursed by a snappily dressed Satan – and that’s before the real tragedy even starts!
The music is sumptuously atmospheric and soulful – reflecting a weird, wild west that smells of gunsmoke, blood and brimstone. HPP’s very own Sheriff, Francis DiPersio, gave a respectful tilt of his wide-brimmed hat to Hard West in his glowing review earlier this year. You can git’ this powerful good title on Steam an’ other digital distra-ma-bution platforms. Now what are you waiting for? The gates of hell are opening in the old west and you’ve got more than enough lead in your six shooter to give them no good demons a welcoming party.
And one last thing…
Well, there we have it. Now you’ve gorged yourself on a fattening feast of consumerist consumption, wait just a moment before you finish that glass of wine and drift off to sozzled sleep while the kids are watching Frozen. Just think how blessed we all are to live in a time of such mesmerizing interactive entertainment, where technology allows us to travel the world, electronically access the sum total of all human knowledge in the blink of an eye – and heat up microwavable nachos! 2016 has been a right royal bugger of a year, and that’s why at the end of it we should really appreciate life’s little miracles we still have. So after the presents have shed their papery skin on the ground, and the inevitable Christmas family shouting match is over, hold your loved ones close and say… God bless us, every one!
Merry Christmas, and a Hey Poor New Year!